Many years from now, I hope that students of history will not look back at the 2016 presidential race in complete confusion. If they do, it will mean that we have solved none of the massive political and social problems that we face. In most cases, history shows that electing a populist candidate means that a country has lost its moral and economic compass and is doomed to pay a much higher price than it expects. Andrew Jackson, an amoral sociopath with no conscience, screaming "manifest destiny" as an excuse for uncountable atrocities, set American civilization back several centuries and eventually incited enough disrespect for non-whites to make civil war a certainty. Luckily, even with all of his character flaws, I don't think that Mr. Trump is a sociopath and he has been known to walk back some of his most ignorant "misstatements." Unfortunately, he has shown little or no knowledge of history, world affairs or domestic issues. Meanwhile, a few decades from now, hopefully there will be a definition for the political term "progressive." Perhaps someone, in a magic moment of clarity, will be able to explain just what the psychiatric or medical term really means. Progressives apparently do not like to be called liberals; they do not generally seem to favor being practical and they seem to have a definite aversion to long term planning to achieve necessary goals. I have been told that I am not a "progressive" despite having almost all of the same long term goals that they have, but that I am too patient because I favor long term planning.
Long term planning involves studying history, something apparently forbidden by "progressives." They also seem to forbid the use of things like patience, logic, and respect for common people and their social values. They apparently "want what they want" and they want it "when they want it." I voted for Bernie Sanders in the primaries, knowing full well that he was in too much of a hurry to achieve the same goals that I wish to achieve. I knew that without control of the House and Senate, however, Bernie would have to compromise some of his economically impractical ideas. I also knew that he would not have abandoned his bully pulpit, nor would he have pandered to powerful lobbies. I loved the fact that he included whites and blacks and all groups in his attempts to lift working men and women out of socio- economic hardship. He alone made people think of themselves in ways other than the color of their skin. His opponent accused him of not fighting for specific minorities, because he did not pander to them. He called the Affordable Care Act what it is, an historic attempt to bridge the gap to a single payer system, not a solution to the problems of health coverage. He was a totally wonderful, if clearly imperfect candidate, a rarity indeed, an honest man.
Bernie's opponent was much more qualified than he- on paper, her record of achievement admirable and she had the backing of the establishment in her party. In fact, she had the Democratic National Committee and all of its lobbies in her back pocket. According to them, she could make as many mistakes as possible and still they would back her. Allies like Elizabeth Warren and Joe Biden, much more electable than she would be, were asked to step aside. She would raise more money than God and buy enough support to easily win the presidency. Insults to coal miners, unemployed white workers and some who were black or Hispanic could be made up by campaign infrastructure and volunteers on the ground. Women were supposed to vote for her because she was a woman. They were supposed to vote for her because she told them they could have late term abortions, even partial birth abortions ( already deemed illegal by the Supreme Court) because of a bad hair day. They were supposed to vote for her despite the fact that their husbands were unemployed, that she had lied about her emails. They were supposed to vote for her despite conflicts of interest involving her foundation, taking money that she didn't need from banking and Wall Street instead of donating it to charity and most disappointing of all, despite her inability to control her husband's interference in her campaign.
I still don't know what a progressive is supposed to be, but I do believe that if the Democratic Party wants to be relevant, it will have to find new leadership. It does not mean that it needs to jump off of the left side of a building, but it needs people who are more fiscally responsible yet socially liberal. It needs to legitimately respect certain conservative values even if we vehemently disagree with them. It means finding young representative candidates for House and Senate seats, candidates who are capable of being elected without support from huge lobbies. Most importantly, it means admitting culpability for Democratic failures in reining in its share of two hundred billion dollars annually in Medicare overpayments and formulating a reasonable plan to simplify the tax code, making it more fair for both individuals and businesses. So far these tasks have been left mostly (not entirely) to ignoramuses and lechers in the Republican Party. For once, a little advanced, long term planning might come in handy. Remember, just as they say that nothing good happens after midnight, no good legislation comes out of "reconciliation" bills.
Al Finkelstein (Ofinky) 11/27/16